Cataract Falls, California

Who knew just an hour north of San Francisco, you could see a mirrored lake, and waterfalls and greenery straight out of Oregon?  I highly recommend checking out Cataract Falls, near Mt. Tam, off Bolinas-Fairfax Road.  We did a 7.7 mile hike, combining various trails (although my iPhone seems to think we did closer to ten miles).  Thanks to the recent rain, the waterfalls were pretty amazing, and even had their own paparazzi!

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© Sarah Milstein 2016

 

 

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McClures Beach, Point Reyes

Yesterday, I went on an adventure to Point Reyes with my friend Mara.  We stopped at the visitor’s center and the guide recommended heading 19 miles north in the park towards the Tule Elk Preserve.  She advised us against going if we could see that it was foggy past the first bend, and it was, but we didn’t care–we were committed.  We decided to head to McClures Beach first, which is just down a hill from the trail head for the Tule Elk Preserve.  It’s a very short hike to the beach.  When we got there, it was white out–you could barely differentiate the sky from the water.  We watched the waves crash as did the birds, who squawked every time the tide came near their feet.  We walked to the south end of the beach, climbed through the rocks and discovered a second beach, where we climbed up onto some rocks and ate lunch.  When we came back through the narrow opening, the sun had appeared.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Filoli Gardens, Woodside

I finally made it to the Filoli Gardens, which are about 25-miles south of San Francisco in Woodside, California.  From the outside, the house looks like a villa in Europe, and the grounds are equally beautiful.  Most of the fruit trees are in full bloom, and Spanish moss flows from some of the others.  As you leave the visitors’ entrance, you walk through a field of dandelions, which abuts the house.  I’ve never seen so many tulips — and such large ones at that!  The tulips are seasonal, and definitely worth making the trip for.  Although it seems like the absolute perfect place for a picnic, you’re not allowed to bring food on the grounds, because apparently when they close the gates at 3 every day, the mountain lions and deer come out to play, and keeping them at bay becomes more difficult with food around.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Jack London State Park, Glen Ellen

I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to drive to the Sonoma Valley–blue skies, a crystal clear view of Alcatraz, and hundreds of sail boats in the Marina, and that was just crossing the Golden Gate!  Yesterday, I went to a wedding at Jack London State Park located in Glen Ellen–a truly spectacular venue.  Flanked by a grove of eucalyptus trees, grape vines, and oak trees, is an old winery ruin situated perfectly in the middle.  The wedding was beautiful, and my friend made a gorgeous bride.  You could truly feel everyone’s excitement for the union of this loving couple.  Congrats, Ali and Eric!

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Point Reyes, California

And now, my favorite part of the road trip to Point Reyes Lighthouse: The cows!

Take Sir Francis Drake Boulevard for what feels like an eternity.  Once you arrive at the Lighthouse parking lot, walk 0.4 miles up the hill.  There’s another sign at the top warning visitors that the climb to the Lighthouse is the equivalent of a 30-story building.  I thought that was an exaggeration until I had to climb back up it.  Bring a bottle of water and a jacket, it was windy!

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Highway 1, California

I left San Francisco this morning intending to head to Tomales Bay to take photographs, eat oysters, and maybe hike, but I got sidetracked after seeing a sign for the Point Reyes Lighthouse, which took me on a 22 mile detour.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for lighthouses.

I clearly took the least efficient route to get to Tomales (err, Point Reyes).  I drove on Highway 1, which has breathtaking views.  (Pay attention to the road though, or you’ll end up driving off a cliff.)  The winding highway takes you through fragrant eucalyptus trees, past Stinson Beach, and through Bolinas Lagoon Nature Preserve where if you’re lucky, you’ll see seals, hawks, crows, and other birds I can’t name.  I also saw a dead skunk on the road.  And then I smelled him for some time thereafter.

The 22 mile drive to the Lighthouse was quite beautiful and I’ve never seen so many happy cows.  Point Reyes Lighthouse and cow photos are forthcoming.

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Muir Woods, California

Jude and I went to Muir Woods on our way back from Napa.  There are signs not to talk in the forest, you know, because trees can be so testy when woken.

According to this website, the giant Redwoods there are between 600 and 800 years old.  One of the trees had been splayed open for visitors, so that you could count the rings.  A little girl standing next to us counted the thicker white rings and said, “Mommy, that tree is only four years old!”  Clearly, a future arborist.

For more information about planning a visit to Muir Woods, click here.

By the way, while I did edit these photos slightly, the trees really were that green!

Muir Woods National Monument, 1 Muir Woods Road, Mill Valley, California 94941

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Russian Ridge Trail, San Mateo County

Today I went hiking on the Russian Ridge Trail, nine miles west of I-280, in San Mateo County.  Mind you, it was nine twisting miles where I was practically getting passed by cyclists.  (Yes, I was in a car).  Beautiful views in every direction.  Bring snacks, water, and a jacket.  It gets windy!

Beware of the giant crows, ticks, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions.  Fortunately, we only encountered a crow.  Although, he was attacking a Prius that was apparently in his parking spot.

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Santa Cruz

So much for my new years’ resolution of weekly blog posts.  Here’s a belated one!  I spent the day in Santa Cruz, where we strolled down the beach, and I got to meet new family members (or at least, new to me).

© Sarah Milstein 2014